?? March 2020
Love thy Neighbour.
I had been rooting around trying to find the words to explain what Reiki is and what it means to me, and all I kept coming back to is that you can't fully understand Reiki until you experience it for yourself. And that at different times it's going to mean a whole lot of nothing and a whole lot of something magical!
Reiki isn't about Insta "self-care", its about being "self-full", a word my friend Gerrard dropped in conversation today. Doing something for yourself in order to heal, to grow and learn. Let's not confuse self-full with being selfish, because we need each other to survive. I know the struggle with vulnerability, letting someone see the raw shadow side of us or the snot-dripping, tears-pouring, breath-gasping person we sometimes are, and god forbid we allow others to lend a helping hand or shoulder to cry on. We're taught to be strong and independent - be a man, be a woman, grow up, pull yourself together... But we forget that we're stronger together.
Reiki for me has not just been about finding myself (a work in progress). But about discovering and speaking my truth and, hopefully by sharing mine I'm enabling you to speak and share yours. Because how else can we build community, give comfort, heal and survive as a human race if not through creating and holding space for the love, joy, pain and beauty of each other.
When I stop to analyse my previous jobs I realise that I've always held space for others (sometimes too much), now I'm doing it in a way that's more nourishing for all of our minds, bodies and souls. And I'm very certain it will evolve as I learn, grow and bring in other modalities into my work. Inner squeals of joy, no brackets needed!
So yep, that's a part of what Reiki means to me. Healing, connection, and love.
For more info and to book a session please click here.
Your loving neighbour,
Image source: Me. Street randoms. Pre Isolation.
On repeat: Butterfly For Solo Piano by Lubomyr Melnyk
Loving: On the subject of happiness, "The Science of Wellbeing" by Professor Laurie Santos
Ps. I wrote the above journal entry a few weeks ago pre the current state of the UK COVID-19 outbreak. I don't recall the date hence the "?? March 2020" stamp. I'm slow to post as this isn't a format I'm entirely used to, and life has been twisting and turning for us for many months now. As the days have unfolded there have been feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and disbelief at the global losses, the hardships now faced for us all whatever ways that plays out, and praying for those on the front line and those at high risk in terms of health and day to day survival which may already have been at risk.
There's a lot of advice and mis-advice going around, and social media is a hotbed of both. I urge you to listen to the facts and follow the advice of trusted medical professionals, and perhaps not the government who seem to be deer stuck in headlights even though we've all been watching this unfold for months now! Wash your hands, isolate if you can, eat good nourishing food (share recipes) and stay hydrated. Take the time to call family and friends and make sure everyone is okay, keep each others spirits up! Practise meditation, or just sit and breathe. Why not get some early spring cleaning done, and take some free online courses. Maybe write that book or movie you've always thought you had in you, real life right now is certainly playing out like one!
I am holding each and every loved one in my heart and sending them healing, love and some much needed joy daily. It's a riff on the Metta Bhavana, a buddhist meditation which comes from the Pali language. Metta means ‘love’ (in a non-romantic sense), friendliness, or kindness: hence ‘loving-kindness’ for short. It is an emotion, something you feel in your heart. Bhavana means development or cultivation.
If you want to do the same then please do! The commonest form of the practice is in five stages, each of which should last about five minutes for a beginner but right now we need as much love and healing vibes out there and quickly so I'm gonna suggest to you 2 stages to practise. (I sometimes do a really mini version this on the bus or when I'm in public and I see someone having a bad time or who clearly has bad vibes.)
In the first stage, you feel metta for yourself. You start by becoming aware of yourself, and focusing on feelings of peace, calm, and tranquillity. Then you let these grow in to feelings of strength and confidence, and then into love within your heart. You can use an image, like golden light flooding your body, or the feeling of receiving a big warm hug or a phrase such as ‘may I be well and happy’, which you can repeat to yourself. These are ways of stimulating the feeling of metta for yourself.
The second stage is think of the person or people and place them in your heart. Bring them to mind as vividly as you can, and think of their good qualities. Feel your connection with them, why you like them, and encourage these feelings to grow by repeating ‘may they be well; may they be happy’ quietly to yourself. If visualising helps you then imagine a light or golden thread that connects their heart to yours.
Then extend your feelings further — to everyone around you, to everyone in your neighbourhood; in your town, your country, and so on throughout the world. Have a sense of waves of loving-kindness spreading from your heart to everyone, to all beings everywhere. Positive thinking can help raise all our vibrations and lord knows we all need it!
Give it a go, or not. You choice. Just stay positive, stay safe, take care of you and yours. We will get through this!!
And if anyone needs some healing, support, rants, memes, and or recipe recommendations then drop me a message.
Big love x
05 Mar 2020
Knowing that the simple things are the sweetest things. Like a hug, laughter with friends, a good nights sleep, even drinking a glass of water, and a pause in your day to just breathe and be.
Sometimes the simplest things aren't the easiest of things for us to do, but they're probably the most important things because they're all about self-care.
And I should stress the importance of why I mentioned above about water, sleep and breath... these 3 things are key to supporting and maintaining our life-force. Why? Now for the science-y part (I'm not a Doctor so please don't lambast me for pointing out the obvious)...
As a kid did you ever compete with your friends to see how long you could hold your breath for? I definitely lost some brain cells doing that far too often! Because here's the thing, the body can survive maybe a few days without water, or sleep, but not oxygen. EVERY PART OF THE BODY RELIES ON OXYGEN TO SURVIVE. Our cells, our organs, our brains, our hair, our digestive system - you name it, it needs it! And the deeper you breathe the more efficient your body becomes with intaking oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide and other waste products. Breathing can help you think better, sleep better, digest better, reduces stress and can improve our immune system. WHOOP!
When we're stressed, anxious or upset (or on the tube like I do) we hold our breath, or take short shallow breaths. Breathing deeply and slower helps us to connect our minds and our bodies, calming both and allowing us to feel more present. The way we breathe is important too, better posture lets our lungs work more efficiently and quicker to get the oxygen in and the toxins out. Pranayama breathing exercises commonly practised in Yoga are a great way to learn how to breathe better. WHOOP, WHOOP!
And remember, breathing doesn't cost a thing, it's all natural healing!
So Breathing 101.. Sit up straight, breathe in and out more fully, deeply and slowly. (And note to self, do more Yoga!)
Breathing, just do it!
Question, is your glass half full or half empty? Talking about water here and not wine, sorry I meant Kombucha cough cough.
When it comes to hydration let's take a look at the facts, our bodies are roughly made up of 60% water and this changes at different times in our lives. Our brains are 75% water, our blood 83%, heart 79%, muscles 75%, Liver 86%, Kidneys 83%... you get the picture so I'll save you the gory details of what happens when we don't get enough water. Staying hydrated is important for so many things such as brain function, creating the protective membranes around the cells in our body, digestion, nutrient absorption (water aids in food breakdown by dissolving vitamins, minerals and nutrients from our food and sending those around the body to where it's needed), anxiety, weight loss, hangovers, some illnesses, energy levels, and oxygen circulation (like with food breakdown, water carries oxygen through out our entire body).
Water doesn't just define us it defines our planet. It is one of the most common molecules found on earth (the other being Hydrogen), and actually not just on earth but within our entire solar system. And where there's water there's likely life. Water is what connects each and everyone of us and everything in the solar system. Trippy!
Not only important as one of the Planeteers in the Captain Planet cartoon series but every culture or civilisation has revered and held water in high regard. Symbolically water has always been perceived as a symbol of life, purity, cleansing, fertility and abundance. Wells and springs were often seen as doorways between the earth and the spirit world. Chalice Wells in Glastonbury Somerset is a sacred healing spring which we've visited a few times and, even if you're not into the mystic I would highly recommend it as a calm and peaceful spot to while away a summer's afternoon.
Legends were made about water and its Goddesses and Gods like Ak Ana, Boann, Ishtar, Oshun, Nyami Nyami, Mami Wata, Poseidon, Shiva, Sinnan, Sulis, Wandjina or Woongurr and so many more. In Hinduism all life emerged from water, and the Ganges meaning 'sacred river' is believed to be the essence of the Goddess Shiva's healing powers. Buddhists give water offerings at shrines, and in Christianity water symbolises rebirth and purity, and in Islam water symbolises wisdom, recognising that water is part of life and "to know this is a conscious awareness of the self".
Our earliest civilisations respected and revered water, yet we now abuse and pollute it and or fear it whether because of scarcity or flooding. We can all do our part to protect, conserve and reduce our water usage, like eating more veg and less meat, turning the tap of when we brush our teeth, taking shorter showers and less baths, filling a bowl with water to wash our fruit and veg and then using that to water the plants or collecting run off rainwater for plants and switching to eco and biodegradable products that put less to no pollution or micro plastics out into the environment. It's a start and every little does help.
I'm planning another piece on water in the coming months so watch this space.
“Innocent sleep. Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary labourer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life's feast, and the most nourishing.” Macbeth.
I lurve my sleep, luv it, luvv it, love it. The older I get it seems the easier it is for me to get in to bed and pass right out within 5 minutes; the how and why remains a mystery to me but one that I am nevertheless grateful for. That said I may not always sleep all the night through but I'm also really good at napping - don't knock it until you've tried it. All power to the folks that can get by on 4hrs of sleep a night, that's not for me nor is it sustainable in the long term because healthy sleep is important for everyone. [Interesting fact that Giraffes only sleep for 2 hours a night and Dolphins transfer their sleep from one brain hemisphere to the other so they keep on swimming!!!]
Sleep is essential to a healthy and longer life. Why? Because to name a few good reasons it boosts immunity, mental wellbeing and memory function, can increase sex drive, increases fertility, wards of heart disease, helps to maintain weight, improves concentration and productivity etc etc etc. If you're tired in the day this is your bodies way of saying it needs some R&R so try and take a nap or give yourself a time-out, your brain and body will thank you for it.
Sleeping is actually a highly active period of time for our bodies when it restores and rejuvenates, repairs tissue, regenerates cells, and grows muscle - basically this period of time is a really essential part of the bodies healing process. And on a spiritual level well, sleep really is the best form of mediation. Think about it how good does it feel when you're in a deep state of rest and relaxation (or have woken up from it), it's bliss! You feel happier and more at peace with the world around you and more importantly with yourself. Resting and surrendering to relaxation helps us connect with ourselves and importantly it helps us to dream. You know those wonderful sleep-scapes where hope lives, money does grow on trees and the sun always shines?! In the words of Mick Jagger "lose your dreams and you lose your mind", and we definitely don't want that do we.
The Nap Ministry was introduced to me by my good friend Annegret. A space that examines rest as a tool for healing and resistance.
"It is an artistic, historical and spiritual examination on the liberating power of naps. It re-imagines why rest is a form of resistance and shines a light on the issue of sleep deprivation as a justice issue. It is counter narrative to the belief that we all are not doing enough and should be doing more."
I'm all for this revolution, especially as someone who has always done her darnedest to do her own thing and resist what society (including family and friends) says she should be doing - okay calm just plan stubborn! Rest as resistance, connection, radical-care and healing on a personal, spiritual and cultural level. I love this!
"We are not just talking about “wellness” for the sake of self-care. We are hoping to tear down toxic systems and create new ways of thriving. This is about more than naps."
So, repeat after me "40 winks sorts out all the kinks", now go and invest in a cosy blanket and a comfy sofa, mattress or chair and nap away.
What does your sleeping, breathing and hydrating self-care look like? And are you getting enough? Answers on a post-card... JK.
In my Reiki sessions with clients we explore what self-care means to them and how each of us can bring in little moments into our days to just check in, let go and re-centre. The more we can do it (and don't be hard on yourself with it, begin small, grow big), the easier and quicker we start to find that life gets that little bit easier day by day.
I've felt really honoured these past few weeks to have worked with some amazing clients in my Reiki studio who've allowed me to support them on their self-care journey. Each one has been a wonderful learning experience for me. When I was called to hold this type of space for people to be honest I didn't know what to expect or even if I could do it; throughout my childhood I was exposed to many a type of healing modality both traditional and non-traditional (and yes you'd be right to interpret that as spiritual and science/ western medicine), but so far I've felt that I really found my beginning in Reiki. And I say beginning because it's an exciting journey ahead for me and I'm thrilled to be able to explore this work, to hold space and to support others on their journey.
In joy and Zzz x
PS. Oh and on the subject of Reiki, I'll be uploading more info about that soon-ish, but feel free to email or DM me in the meantime if you have any questions or would like to book a session!
Image source: Shaz Madani.
On repeat: Dave Live at The Brits.
Loving: Deepak Chopra's new podcast launching March 18th.
Wishlist: David Byrne 'Arboretum'.
Aqua Vitae: Alok Jha, 'The Water Book'.
01 Feb 2020
So long January, you were a great, barreling rollercoaster of a start to the year for me. Thank you for the lessons and the learnings, the lows and the highs. I'm leaning in to 2020 and hoping February has a much softer landing. So Hello February, I've got you if you've got me?!
A new year, a new month, a new me? Well I think the same me, just putting one foot in front of the other, much slower, more consciously, trying to breath deeper, to open my eyes and heart wider to the world around and especially within me.
I've spent many years on the fashion grind working for some truly amazing people, (and sadly some not so truly amazing ones but that's not specific to this industry), learning and hustling, laughing and sometimes crying my way through, and I'm sure like you you've felt that there was more to this, more to working and more need for loving and actually living!
When life wants you to stop, watch and listen it tends to come barging in when you least expect it. Usually because you didn't look for the signs it was giving or because you ignored it for so long. We're all a work in progress and from time to time I do manage to follow the signs, some of which have led me to some truly amazing and wonderful people, places and experiences. And I'm not talking about grand escapades or that Instagram-life, sometimes it's a conversation over a cup of tea with a dear friend, or eating Sri Lankan food on a beach in North Devon in the middle of a heatwave with the man that constantly has your back through thick and thin. And other signs have led me to qualifying as a Reiki practitioner last year and exploring what self-care means to me.
So what's this new chapter of July Rollings all about? Mid-life crisis I hear you mumble? Maybe, probably, finally! I don't like to sum things up in one word, it seems so finite and so boxed in so I'll give you a few ...
Healing. We all do it, in obvious and not so obvious ways. The what, why, how, where and when we do it. That inspires me.
Connection. What connects us and why. That's what excites me. Amidst these crazy times connection is key. Share with me your story, what makes you you and we'll always find some common ground.
Love. In all honesty a hard one for me, despite the above mentioned beach moment. So many layers. A need for more self-love, letting go and allowing the heart to open, to see and be seen, to be free. Love of self, love of life, love of other, love of all things bright and beautiful, dark, weird and funny in this crazy universe we call home.
July Rollings, an unfolding story bringing together conversations with an ever growing community of people. Exploring what connects us, heals us and spirits us along.
Alongside we present a small curated offering of the work, recommendations and explorations of our community. Get to know them, they're a lovely bunch!
Taking a leap of faith!
Be right back x
Image source: Tessa Forrest
On repeat: Emily King
Loving: Good Club